Your business brand is like an island on the horizon. Your customers are sailors on the open seas. There are many islands to choose from. So what will make your business successful in a rough and competitive world?

There are two parts to building your business with a social media strategy that works: It needs to entice from afar. But it also needs to provide comfort and shelter when sailors arrive. They have been sailing and searching their whole lives. They want to find a community and a country of like-minded citizens. 

Why should people come to your business’s island? The best way to find out what people are looking for is to listen to their needs. What have they been searching for? Let’s find out how to brand your authentic business online so that your audience has a home and a comfortable place to hang their hats.

Promote your brand in a social media savvy way:


1. Know your audience

• What kinds of brands do they follow on Twitter? 

• What brands do they like on Facebook?

• What information do they share with their friends? 

Understand the person behind who’s looking for the authentic brand you’re creating. Then, you’ll know where on the web they’re looking and what catches their attention. 

To get the best understanding of the people you are talking to, vividly imagine a few individuals. Give them names, jobs, dynamic personalities, hobbies, lives. Real people do not respond to products designed for a stereotypical demographic. 


2. Make an emotional connection

People don’t like or share a brand’s products unless it speaks to who they are at the deepest level of consciousness. 

Your customers want their friends to know that they like brands that are interesting, creative, or socially conscious. They want your brand to express values that match their core values.

What emotions and values does your brand align with? Share genuine emotions that your audience can trust. Really be yourself online by branding from within. Then you can write and speak from the place where your core values guide your actions and business strategy.

Once you have connected with your values-based brand, use blogs to convey your compelling story and make an authentic connection. 

• Befriend your audience with your blog. Friendships are some of the deepest emotional connections we form. Each blog will give them another reason to listen to and understand what you represent. It will also give them something meaningful to share with others. 

• Create a welcoming, friendly, and authentic brand based on the values you share with your customers. 

Virgin Mobile has chosen a young, energetic customer base. Its brand is bold and edgy, so it uses casual wording. Visiting Virgin’s site feels like hanging out with some cool friends. What’s it like to hang out with your brand?


3. Focus on Facebook

• There are more Facebook users than Twitter users

• Facebook users are on Facebook more often than Twitter users tweet

• People share and like brands more on Facebook than on any other social media platform

Develop a solid Facebook community for your brand. Give people something to talk about by engaging with their interests, making them laugh, or sharing something inspirational.

Visit the Facebook pages of Coca-Cola, Disney, Red Bull and some companies in your industry to find out how they engage with their customer base. What words do they use to speak to their audience? What images and questions do they post? What do their audiences respond well to? Small business entrepreneurs can always learn from big business successes because large companies have the resources for research and implementation that get’s the job done right.


4. Give something away 

Sites like Groupon go viral fast because consumers love free stuff and discounts. 

In a survey of 2,000 US residents, 80% said that coupons were their favorite content to receive from brands. 

But be careful. A few weeks ago, I went into a spa with a waxing coupon. Out of curiosity, I asked the owner how much business she got from Groupon. She said that it worked well for waxing, but not for facials and other one-off services. The moral of her story was: 

Give discounts on products people use regularly, so that you gain repeat customers. 

When you draw in customers using coupons, be sure to treat them well and show them the values your company strives for. Show them why your business is relevant to their lives. If they learn about your values and share in them, they will come back without a coupon.


5. Stay relevant

Online customers are always looking for new and interesting information. A successful social media strategy includes doing the research that will keep you more interesting than other social media pages.

• Set aside some time each week for research. Depending on your topic, research at least an hour a week. You might need to find a quiet place where you can focus on your research topic. Remember to read about ideas within your industry and outside of it. You may discover brilliant ideas in other industries that will help you stay relevant and interesting in your own.

• Find resources that fit your learning style. If you are better at listening than reading, find audio-visual information. Try vlogs or podcasts. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, try borrowing some books from your local library. Make learning work for you.

Still confused? Need some help implement the best Social Media Strategy for your values-based business? Visit Brand from Within for one-on-one programs that connect you with your best audience in the most authentic way.